NEW YORK – US blue chip stocks hit fresh two-year highs on Tuesday, as a strong performance from the energy and utilities sectors boosted the market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20.51 points (0.18 percent) to 11,575.54, buoyed by gains from Chevron, which was up 1.2 percent, and ExxonMobil, which was up 0.6 percent.
Higher oil prices prompted by cold weather helped push the market higher despite a disappointing consumer confidence survey.
“Energy stocks showed relative strength, but the sector failed to inspire broader buying,” said analysts at Briefing.com.
Amid light trade, the broader S&P 500 index gained a meager 0.97 points (0.08 percent) to 1,258.51.
The energy-light NASDAQ fell 4.39 points (0.16 percent) to 2,662.88.
Expecting improved signs of consumer confidence, traders had bid up stocks before the Conference Board reported its monthly consumer statistics, only to be disappointed.
The board reported that its consumer confidence index fell in December, down from 54.3 points in November to 52.5.
But a rise in oil prices reversed some of the loses.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, a barrel of light sweet crude for February delivery was up 49 cents at 91.49 dollars.
The bond market fell strongly after a weak auction for five-year Treasuries.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bonds rose to 3.48 percent from 3.35 percent on Monday, while that of the 30-year bond was up to 4.55 percent from 4.42 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
– AFP /ls
Channel News Asia